Updated March 05, 2020

Amazon Student vs. Amazon Prime: What’s the Difference & Which Is Better?

Budgeting

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Amazon Prime is an incredibly popular subscription that offers Amazon users a variety of benefits for $119 per year. A related subscription, Amazon Student, costs $59 per year.

While Amazon Student is often described as a half-price version of Amazon Prime, they’re actually different in important ways. This article will cover everything you need to know about each subscription and help you decide which is best for you.

Check It Out: This credit card gives you free Amazon Student for a year.

Amazon Prime

  • Amazon Prime
    • Basics: Get free two-day shipping and access to Prime Video, plus exclusive access to other Amazon features.
    • Pros: Free two-day shipping; access to Video, Reading, Music, Audio, Family, Pantry, and more; share with household; free monthly Kindle book.
    • Cons: High annual cost might not be worth it if you don’t shop a lot.
    • Annual subscription

      $119 per year

    • Free trial

      30 days

    • Share with household

      Yes

Most people know about a few Amazon Prime advantages, including free shipping and access to Prime Video. Prime also comes with other exclusive offers that could make it worth the investment for regular Amazon users.

Prime Reading

Prime members receive unlimited access to Prime Reading. Prime Reading offers more than 1,000 readings including books, comics, magazines, and more, with content in nearly every genre. You can read Prime Reading materials on a computer, Kindle, or mobile device through the Kindle app.

Prime Music and Audible

Prime Music comes with a library of roughly 2 million songs available with every Prime membership. You can listen offline or hands-free without ad breaks through the Amazon Music app. A Prime membership also gives you a free subscription to Audible podcasts and audiobooks.

Free Monthly Kindle Books

Prime members get access to two free books every month as part of the First Reads program. You can choose two out of a larger collection, so you aren’t limited to Amazon’s choices.

Prime Pantry Discounts

Prime Pantry includes a variety of grocery items, and all Prime members receive discounts on Pantry. These deals rotate constantly, so it’s worth staying updated with the latest offers.

Amazon Family

Amazon Family is one of the lesser known perks that comes with Amazon Prime, and it’s a crucial selling point for any new or soon-to-be parent. Prime members get a 15% discount on baby registry items along with 20% off diapers subscriptions. These savings alone could make up most of the cost of membership.

Share With Your Household

Prime is primarily an individual service, but it does give you the option to share your subscription with other people who live in your home. You can add up to four children and two adults to a single account without paying extra.

Amazon Prime offers a 30-day free trial, so you can test the service for up to 30 days before continuing as a paid user for $119 per year. Whether it’s worth that price depends on how often you buy Amazon products and use other features.

Amazon Prime Student

  • Amazon Prime Student
    • Basics: Get free two-day shipping, textbook rental, and exclusive deals at a special student-only membership rate.
    • Pros: Lower membership fee, six-month free trial, free two-day shipping, access to Prime Video and more, exclusive College Deals.
    • Cons: Single member only, no access to Family or Audible, must be a student.
    • Annual subscription

      $59

    • Free trial

      6 months

    • Share with household

      No

Amazon Student comes with most of the same advantages that are available with Amazon Prime, including free two-day shipping, streaming for music and videos, and other benefits like Prime Reading and Twitch Prime — but note some key differences.

Lower Membership Fee

First, Amazon Student comes at about half the cost of a Prime membership, — 59 per year — making it more affordable for people in school.

6-Month Free Trial

You can also start with a six-month free trial, so you’ll have more time to use these benefits before committing to an annual subscription.

The Amazon Student free trial is substantially longer than the one offered for Amazon Prime, so you’ll have even more time to determine whether the benefits are worth the subscription fee. You may prefer to bypass the trial if you’re planning to use features that are only included in the full version of Amazon Student, including Prime Reading, Music, and Pantry.

Must Be a Student to Enroll

As with most student discounts, the only eligibility requirement for Amazon Student is a college.edu email address to prove you’re enrolled at a qualified institution. You’ll have access to the longer free trial and lower rate until you leave school, up to four years.

Single User Only

The biggest disadvantage of Amazon Student compared to Prime is that the membership is non-transferrable, so only the primary account holder can use it. If you’re sharing a home with others, you won’t be able to split the cost of a single membership.

No Access to Amazon Family

Furthermore, Amazon Student members aren’t eligible for the discounts available with Amazon Family. If you’re a student and a parent, these offers could be worth spending extra money on Prime.

No Access to Audible Channels

Amazon Student doesn’t give you access to the Audible channels that are available for Prime members. An Audible subscription is $60 per year on its own, already making up the difference in price between Amazon Prime and Amazon Student. This could be worth the additional cost if you’re interested in reading from the Audible library.

Rent Textbooks

While Amazon Student lacks some features and advantages that come with Amazon Prime, it also offers several exclusive perks that aren’t available to Amazon Prime members. Renting textbooks through Amazon, for example, is only an option for Amazon Student subscribers.

Whether you rent or buy, textbooks are often shipped for free in as little as two days. You can always sell purchased books back to Amazon at the end of the term if you no longer want them, although you should consider renting if you know you’ll only want the book for a limited period.

College Deals

Amazon offers Student members an exclusive College Deals section that includes offers on common college supplies. You can find discounts on everything from snacks and video games to dorm supplies and laptops, and these products typically ship for free in two days.

Prime vs. Student: Which Is Right for You?

 Amazon PrimeAmazon Prime Student
 
Annual
Membership
Fee
  • $119
  • $59
Monthly
Membership
Fee
  • $12.99
  • $6.49
Free
Trial
  • 1 month
  • 6 months
Free
Same-Day
Delivery
  • Yes, for select products
  • Yes, for select products and areas
Free
One-Day
Delivery
  • Yes, for select products
  • Yes, for select products and areas
Free
Two-Day
Delivery
  • Yes, for select products
  • Yes, for select products
Free
Release-Date
Delivery
  • Yes, for select products
  • No
Free
2-Hour
Grocery
Delivery
  • Yes, in select areas
  • No
Unlimited
Music
Streaming
and
Reading
  • Yes
  • Yes
Free
Unlimited
Photo
Storage
  • Yes
  • Yes
Prime
Video
  • Yes
  • Yes
Membership
Sharing
  • Yes
  • No
Referral
Program
  • Yes
  • Yes
 

Amazon Student and Amazon Prime are both great deals, but they’re clearly intended for different audiences with different needs. These are some of the most important factors to keep in mind as you decide which subscription is right for you.

Alex McOmie

Alex McOmie is a writer focused on providing insightful, actionable content that can truly change the way readers approach their finances. He joined the Money Done Right editorial team in summer 2019. Learn more about Alex.

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